God Makes a Way (Psalm 114)

Well, we notice that there’s a second way that God is glorified in Psalm 114. God makes a way where there seems to be no way. Turn with me to the Book of Joshua, so to the right. A few books to Joshua. The people of God had been led by Moses to the edge of the promised land, but because of Moses’s angry outburst, he was not allowed to lead the people into the promised land. He died there on the other side of the Jordan. The mantle of leadership was passed to Joshua and now Joshua is called by God to lead the people of God into this land of promise. Verse three of Psalm 114 says the Jordan turned back and this is beautiful, poetic language of God, powerfully working again in creation to provide the means of their rescue. Joshua 3 begins,


Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. (Joshua 3:1)


Now what has taken place thus far is that the spies were sent into the land to see how things looked as far as conquering this land that God had promised to give to them. Twelve spies in all, ten of them were filled with fear, two of them were filled with faith. That’s the basic summary. They came back, and ten of them said this was impossible, saying there was no way we could possibly do this. Two came back and said doesn’t matter how big the obstacles are because God is bigger than they are. As a result, Caleb and Joshua were the only ones of their generation to be able to enter into the promised land. Everyone else in their generation died still on the wilderness side. So that’s where we are.


Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. 2 At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it.” (Joshua 3:1-3)


So now they’re not being led by the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire anymore, but now they’re being led by the presence of God, visibly seen over the Ark of the Covenant. So it was the responsibility of the leaders of the people of God to lead. To take the people of God into unchartered territories, not to sit and wait for the people to lead them, but for them to lead the people of God in what they believed was God’s calling. And we see this very clearly that the people were to keep their eyes on the Levitical priests. Actually, on the Ark that was being carried by the Levitical priests, always keep your eyes on the powerful presence of God. 


Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” (Joshua 3:4)


That’s about 3000 feet. So keep your distance from the Ark of the Covenant. Why? Because the very presence of God is dangerous unless you have somebody interceding for you. Keep your distance from this holy God. 


Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” (Joshua 3:5)


Consecrate yourselves, set yourselves apart, dedicate yourself, consecrate who you are and everything that you have to the Lord, that is, God’s calling upon our lives. We are to consecrate all that we are and all that we have to the Lord. Everything belongs to him. 


And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.” And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. (Joshua 3:6-11)


Keep your eyes on the powerful presence of the Lord. Trust in him as he leads us forward. That’s what Joshua is saying to the people. 


Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” (Joshua 3:12-13)


This is where we get our phrase. Taking a step of faith. That’s where this comes from. The priests were the leaders of God’s people. God was calling them to be the first ones to take a step of faith and to put their feet into the raging Jordan River. They needed to trust God, that he was going to deliver them, and when the people saw that, then they would follow. Now, a parenthetical note, just to give us the big picture. The Jordan overflows all of its banks throughout the time of the harvest. So this wasn’t during a period of drought where there was just a little trickle. The banks of the Jordan were overflowing with water. 


So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. (Joshua 3:14-17)


So God stopped the Jordan River from flowing in its flood season. He let it all run dry and kept those waters upstream so that the people could cross. So here’s the picture: the priests are carrying the Ark of the Covenant which is a visible object showing forth the powerful presence of God. They stepped their feet into the water and God acted just as he said he would act. He stops the river, they walk out to the middle of the riverbed, the leaders stand there holding the Ark of the Covenant while all the people walk by to the other side. 


God’s delivering his people, showing forth his mighty, mighty power. God makes a way where there seems to be no way. The applications of this truth to our lives are endless. I don’t know what obstacles you face. I do not know what big things you are hoping to trust the Lord for. I say hoping to trust the Lord because you feel like you’re learning to trust. One day you’re trusting well the next day you’re filled with doubt. But there you are wondering, is God going to act? And we serve a God who makes a way where there seems to be no way. 


The Realm of the Impossible

Let me ask you something. Are you comfortable walking with God in the realm of what is impossible? Or have you confined your Christian life to only what you consider to be possible? You are such an excellent manager of your life that you have so organized your life into only that which is possible. May I say to you that it is a great gift from God when he brings us to the banks of the Red Sea or the banks of the Jordan, and we face something that is absolutely impossible from our standpoint. That is when he delights to jump in and intercede and rescue and do things that we never thought were possible. He loves to do things that are far above what we can imagine. What we can ask for, what we can think. 


Are you like the 10 spies? Or are you like the two? Are you like the 10 spies that come running back saying “Ohh they’re giants in the land there’s no way.” Or are you like the two that see the giants but very clearly, with eyes of faith, see that your God is infinitely bigger than any of those? God makes a way where there seems to be no way. So my challenge to you is this: do you delight in walking by faith, or is your preference to walk by sight? Is your preference to organize and strategize your life so that you’ve got it all under control or are you willing to take steps of faith that require God’s dramatic intervention in order for his will to be done?


I don’t know all of the infinite ways that those questions may apply to you, but the spirit of God does and that is the challenge for us this morning. Verse eight of Psalm 114 talks about how God brings water from a rock, water from flint which refers back to those times in the wilderness, when God brought forth water for his people. Again, Moses was faced with leading a people who only could see the obstacles. Always complaining and whining to Moses that he had led them into the wilderness, only to see them then starving, having no water to drink. And yet, God always came through. What does all of this mean for us as followers of Christ? Let me give you one big takeaway: Jesus, our Passover Lamb, redeemed us from slavery to sin into holy freedom. As we consecrate ourselves to his service, he will make a way forward when we cannot see it. 


The OT in NT Context

Now, perhaps you’re sitting there thinking, well, Paul, aren’t you spiritualizing the Old Testament? Aren’t you drawing pictures that aren’t there? I’m really glad you asked that question because I want to show you it is all there. Look at 1st Corinthians 10 with me. 


For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 1:1-14)


The heart of idolatry is a trust in self as opposed to a trust in God. That’s the warning. Do we trust in ourselves and therefore put massive limitations upon what God will do? Or do we trust in God who is infinite in power unmatched power and presence to go to work for his people to act on behalf of his people? God delivers those who belong to him and brings them into a new life of faith. 


I don’t know where you were at with the Lord. But the Lord did this for me in the early months of 1984 when he opened my eyes to see that though I had been raised religiously, I did not know Christ. I was not saved. I was taught and trained to believe, to have faith in myself, and to trust in my own ability. To get right with God through the religious system. But God brought me to the end of myself and he showed me the glories of Jesus and he redeemed me from that slave market of sin placing me into holy fellowship with Him. And I hope that that is the case for you. And if it is not seek the Lord. Ask more about the good, simple news of the gospel, that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. He came to this Earth, the Son of God lived a sinless life, took that sinless life to the cross of Calvary, and offered it up as the one and only acceptable sacrifice. The Lamb of God, who will take away our sins. And He does this when we turn to Him. When we come to the end of ourselves and realize that saving ourselves is impossible. But God can save us. 

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